Increased use of CT in past decade results in decreased costs for hospitals

September 15, 2004

The increased use of CT from 1992 to 2002 for the imaging of facial trauma has actually decreased imaging costs by 22% per patient, say researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

For the study, researchers analyzed the changes in volume, type and cost of facial imaging examinations for the years 1992 and 2002 at a level 1 trauma center. The results showed that in 1992, 890 patients were evaluated for facial trauma, with 671 undergoing X-ray examinations only, 153 CT only and 66 both examinations. In 2002, 828 patients were evaluated, with 584 undergoing CT only, 228 X-ray only and 16 both examinations. The 2002 hospital cost of a facial CT examination was $121 and for an X-ray examination was $154, resulting in an overall cost savings of 22% per patient in 2002.

"The reason for the investigation was that the volume of CT use for emergency trauma had been on an obvious upward trajectory, so there has been some concern among hospital CEOs and third-party payers that it's too expensive to use," said Robert A. Novelline, MD, one of the authors of the study.

According to the authors, the findings are easily explained. "What lowers the cost is the time taken up by facial examinations. Currently it takes 25 minutes for an X-ray versus 10 seconds for CT. That's less room use and less technologist time," said Dr. Novelline.

The main focus of the study was money saved by the hospital, but the benefits also affect the patient, according to Dr. Novelline. "CT is more accurate and better depicts anatomy than an X-ray, so surgeons can better plan surgical treatment for the patient. CT is also faster, which is of great importance in an emergency room setting," he said.

Although the study looked specifically at facial trauma, the study authors say that the results are relevant to all emergency medicine imaging.
The article appears in the September 2004 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

American College of Radiology

Related Imaging Articles from Brightsurf:

X-ray imaging of atomic nuclei
Optically imaging atomic nuclei is a long-sought goal for scientific and applied research, but it has never been realized so far.

Seeing the invisible -- A novel gas imaging system
Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University developed a novel device to image and quantify volatile gases that are released through the skin in real-time.

4D imaging with liquid crystal microlenses
Most images captured by a camera lens are flat and two dimensional.

Protein imaging at the speed of life
A team of physicists from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have completed the first molecular movie of the ultrafast movement of proteins at the European XFEL facility.

Use of medical imaging
This observational study looked at patterns of use for computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound and nuclear medicine imaging in the United States and in Ontario, Canada, from 2000 to 2016.

Two-in-one contrast agent for medical imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) visualizes internal body structures, often with the help of contrast agents to enhance sensitivity.

Medical imaging rates during pregnancy
Researchers looked at rates of medical imaging (CT, MRI, conventional x-rays, angiography, fluoroscopy and nuclear medicine) during pregnancy in this observational study that included nearly 3.5 million pregnant women in the United States and Canada from 1996 to 2016.

Quality improvement in cardiovascular imaging
In the current issue of Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications volume 4, issue 1, pp.

Making digital tissue imaging better
A low-tech problem troubles the high-tech world of digital pathology imaging: There are no reliable standards for the quality of digitized tissue slides comprising the source material for computers reading and analyzing vast numbers of images.

Diattenuation imaging -- a promising imaging technique for brain research
A new imaging method provides structural information about brain tissue that was previously difficult to access.

Read More: Imaging News and Imaging Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to